Patron of the poor and protector from illness
Bernadette was born to a poor family in Lourdes, France. She was always in poor health, but was hired as a shepherdess at the age of 14. While walking in the woods, she received a vision of the Virgin Mary. Bernadette was visited by Mary 17 more times. Mary told Bernadette to dig in the mud near the mouth of a cave and a spring of water arose in that spot. Mary said that the waters had healing powers when used with great faith. Many miracles happen when people use this water. The Catholic Church has recognized the sacred spring Lourdes as a holy place.